Next-generation broadband services to help older people?
Monday 13th September 2010, by Daniel King
The next generation of broadband technology could significantly boost the quality of older people's lives, according to a new report from the industry regulator.
Ofcom's advisory committee for older and disable people has said that new broadband services could be crucial in delivering services such as remote health monitoring.
In addition, such services could give added benefits of more social interaction, teleworking and life-long learning programmes.
However, there are still big barriers to achieving universal access to such services.
These include lowering costs to improve access and helping assuage concerns about privacy and confidentiality of data, especially when using broadband to provide health services.
Stakeholders would also have a major role to play in allowing the co-ordination of such services and making them accessible through the web.
The report also acknowledged that encouraging these groups to be interested in the current generation of broadband services was essential.
It called on the government to boost participation and uptake among non-adopters unaware of the benefits.
Commenting on the findings, committee chairperson Jo Connell said: "For many people next-generation broadband is already a reality.
"Our research shows that next-generation broadband is about much more than multi-gamer gaming, faster music downloads or high-definition TV.
"This report offers a glimpse into the potential services and how this new technology could help to transform many older and disabled people's lives."
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